Will You Help Me With Advertising?

With consumers increasingly tuning out of mainstream media channels and tuning into their iPods, mobile phones and social networks instead, most advertising is going to a dead letter office. At the same time, consumerism continues to flourish. Advertising is for awareness – not credibility. I’ve never said that advertising will go away – it won’t. Despite all the innovation, traditional brand advertising is not about to go away. These companies are successful brand builders, but they would be hard pressed to achieve elite brand status solely on the marketing strength of Google text ads and “buzz” conversations.

It will change many of the rules of what we think advertising is, what marketing is, and what design is. But the purpose of advertising is to expand the customer base by informing more people of the product’s existence and virtues. The more consumers a company attracts to its product, the more it sells. Although interactive advertising is included in the various revenue categories, total online revenue increased by roughly 11% to $3.7 million last year.

Pixel Advertising is the term given to visual advertisements on the web which have their cost calculated dependent on the number of pixels which they occupy. Pixel advertising gained popularity in the last quarter of 2005 when British student Alex Tew created a web site named The Million Dollar Homepage, and solicited advertisers to buy ad space measured in pixels on the homepage. Google’s foray into television advertising is an important test of whether the Internet giant can use its wildly successful system of search advertising in the biggest of media channels. While it is pursuing efforts in print and radio, TV represents the company’s biggest hurdle to achieving its goal of building a broad platform for advertisers to run targeted ad campaigns, continuously changed based on metrics, across all forms of media. The public secret today in online advertising is that PPC based advertising is saturated. Banners are sliding into the land of irrelevance.

While paid advertising is often one small component of a public relations campaign, the most powerful public relations influence is where the connection between the sponsor and the messenger is invisible. This period of American advertising is called the Creative Revolution and its poster boy was Bill Bernbach who helped create the revolutionary Volkswagen ads among others. Some of the most creative and long-standing American advertising dates to this incredibly creative period. The empirical results suggest that if advertising is perceived by producers to be a variable cost then in both provinces producer groups are likely to be overinvesting in advertising.

Advertising is an inescapable part of life, a fact evident each time you turn on the television, drive past endless billboards or sit down to check your email. As a small business owner with a limited budget, you may be more sensitive to the ads surrounding you than most. It also tries to organize all the creative into categories but creative advertising is chaotic– it has never been a science or something easily organized. If you think there’s a formula then you’re wrong. Advertising is not targeted to individual users but may be placed on the site adjacent to content related to advertiser or sponsor interest. Advertising also appears in our weekly newsletter, Housecall.

Advertising is a free speech issue, or at least it ought to be. Because behind today’s anti-ad campaigning there lurks a degrading view of the public as fickle and easily bought off, who must be protected from certain words and imagery by better men and women.

To help create a better experience for users and help encourage users to create better, more focused ads that are more appealing to potential customers, the way ads are ranked changes periodically. By improving the quality of ads and making them more relevant to users, you may be rewarded with a better ranking and reduced cost.It all boils down to what you’re selling,audience, and where and when ads are displayed. Also many advertisers are attacking the market through various channels, and are getting increasingly sophisticated in how they market and measure success. Intrusive ads are bad content.

The best ads are those that are complimentary to the content and blend in with the content. If you look at how some bloggers make money through adsense, it reveals their strategy to monetize from their content. Revenue from the ads are split about 50-50.

The Impact of Advertising on Society

The impact of the advertising company on the society at large has been enormous. Unprecedented sales have been made the world over by listing products and services on TV. The American society belongs to the Television age that loves to just sit and watch all sorts of things on television.

In a world that’s increasingly becoming one small global village, companies cannot help but take advantage of the various mediums created to advertise their goods and services.

Research has shown that immense profit has been recorded by most companies who have invested hugely in advertising. Although no one knows the origin of advertising, time has proven that people’s opinion to buy have been greatly influenced by the impact of advertising.

Show a product over and over again as extremely good for acne, coupled with dazzling pictures of women with clear and bright skin and you will notice the increased demand for the product in the coming weeks and months. The art of advertising has often been criticized by its detractors as a form of deceptive propaganda.

Critics has accused advertising companies of falsely using the power of sound and visual to convince unsuspecting buyers to purchase products that don’t offer what they promise. However you look at this, this is business and companies will use any market strategy that is available to them to sell their product.

Why then do advertising companies spend millions of dollar on marketing their products and services to prospective buyers? The answer is not farfetched! People all over the world want to see results. People need to be convinced all the time that they are actually paying for a good or service that works.

If it’s a cleaning product, people want to visualize the results this product will produce and if it’s a meal they also want to see it cooked and served. There’s power in visualization. It triggers off the imagination which in turn helps to convince the mind.

For some reason, People who watch most commercials on televisions never stop to think for once that this could be all make-believe. As soon as they see a commercial, they begin to actually dream of acquiring the actual product. That’s the power of advertising that has been utilized by some good companies to sell their products and also been used as a medium by some other companies to actually take advantage of potential buyers.

Television commercial/advertising has been in the forefront of the creative industry for over two decades now. The number of advertising companies that have sprang up during this time cannot be numbered.

Needless to say that advertising companies now form a major part of the development economy of many nations. They have created numerous forms of employment for artists, computer scientist, graphic artists, public relations personnel, modelling agencies and models to mention but a few.

Almost all listed fortune 500 companies owe a part of their success to their utilization of efficient advertising companies. In this regards, there are various types of advertising companies. Like in any other industry, there are leaders and there are toddlers.

Certain advertising companies have clearly defined themselves as leaders in business with strong competitors coming fast behind. Others however have however barely managed to make a success of their career and are just merely existing and on the verge of extinction.

Like every other business out there, only the persistent and strong willed will win. Advertising is a serious business. It is not some sort of joke. To be better explained, it is a business that is cut out for the witty. The world of advertising is witty, fast and fiercely competitive. In other words, it’s a world where only the fittest survive.

All said and done, it cannot be denied that advertising has it cons, however its pros outweigh the former. It is indeed a dynamic innovation both in television and in the Arts. It has triggered off imagination and creativity. The advent of the computer and the internet has greatly expanded the mediums and forms of advertising in the world today. No longer is advertising limited to television now but also to other forms of media and multimedia.

The Forgotten Advertising Medium

Too often those of us that own an online business forget that there’s another  advertising  medium that business owners have been using for years, with excellent results.

That medium is Newspaper  Advertising . Any online business owner that is not using the option of  advertising  in newspapers is losing potentially thousands of dollars per year.

Although print newspapers have lost some of their readership to online news sources there are still millions of homes in America that still buy newspapers, either by newsstands or home delivery.

Reading the newspaper is a habit for many families because there is something for everybody–sports, comics, crosswords, the food section, classifieds, etc. You can reach certain types of people by placing your ad in different sections of the paper that would appeal to your target market. People expect  advertising  in the newspaper. In fact, many people buy the paper just to read the ads from the supermarket, movies or department stores.

As you look through your newspaper, you’ll notice some businesses that advertise regularly. Observe who they are and how they advertise their products and services. More than likely, their  advertising  investment is working if they continue to place ads.

There are many advantages to  advertising  in the newspaper. From the advertiser’s point-of-view, newspaper  advertising  can be convenient because production changes can be made quickly, if necessary, and you can often insert a new advertisement on short notice. Another advantage is the large variety of ad sizes newspaper  advertising  offers. Even though you may not have a lot of money in your budget, you can still place a series of small ads, without making a sacrifice.

Before placing an ad in your town’s daily newspaper you may want to place a few test ads in the local papers that publish less often and are not as expensive, like the Penny Pincher or American Classifieds (formerly Thrifty Nickel). If you get a good response to your ad in the smaller publications, chances are they will pull well in the larger more well-known papers. If your response is not what you were hoping for try rewriting the ad and placing it again. Since the rate is less expensive for the smaller local publications you should be able to do this as often as needed until you get the response you were expecting.

Some things to know about newspaper  advertising :

1. Newspaper circulation drops on Saturdays and increases on Sundays, which is also the day newspapers are read most thoroughly.

2. Position is important, so specify in what section you want your ad to appear. Sometimes there’s a surcharge for exact position… but don’t be afraid to pay for it if you need it.

3. Request an outside position for ads that have coupons. That makes them easier to cut out.

4. If a newspaper is delivered twice daily (morning/evening), it often offers “combination” rates or discounts for  advertising  in both papers. You usually can reach more readers, so this kind of  advertising  may be something to consider.

Other important tips to remember are:

* Before you advertise, have in mind a definite plan for what it is you want to sell.

* Create short, descriptive copy for your ad. Include prices if applicable. Consider using a copywriter or ask your newspaper for free copy assistance.

* Face your products toward the inside of the ad. If the product you want to use faces right, change your copy layout to the left.

* Be sure to include your company name and logo, address, telephone number and website url in the ad.

* Neat, uncluttered and orderly ads encourage readership. Don’t try to crowd everything you can in the layout. If the newspaper helps you with the layout, be sure to request a proof of the final version so you can approve it or make changes before it is printed.

* Always make sure you are satisfied with what your  advertising  says and how it looks before it goes to print.

Advertising Effectiveness Trends, a Small Survey

In the day to day running of my business, I am discussing marketing strategies with business owners and marketing managers on a daily basis. If you can earn their trust, then they will be very candid with you, especially if you can help them without trying to sell them something.

What resulted from this were some startling admissions that I did not expect. This had me thinking, it can cost an awful lot, especially for the small to medium business owner, to spend money on good market research. So I wondered what the results would look like after a few months if I were to record the marketing success and failure stories after each visit.

I broke this down into respective industries to give more meaning to the results, and also, if available, lend the reasons to these successes and failures. Now I have decided that three month periods will do for data collection as years of research in marketing becomes outdated by the time it is published in the forever increasing and changing monster that is the modern market place. Always ensure research is current and relevant.

Although some of you may want to see raw data, a summary of my finding is all I am going to share in this article sorry! Please take into account that the sample number is in the hundreds, but certainly not in the thousands. The value of this research comes from the honesty of small to medium sized business owners, and the fact they have usually spent the time to talk about these things in detail.

Here are some general trends that I have found;

o Newspaper and radio advertising return on investment continues to decline rapidly.

o The second most effective form of advertising was word of mouth referrals.

o The most effective form tended to be anything unique, e.g. logo and advertisement placement in unexpected places.

o Advertising on product giveaways tends to have a life span of one week, i.e. a company logo on a free pen typically brings in no new revenue one week after it has been given away.

o Advertising discounts were not as effective at getting people through the door as advertising something new.

o Customer loyalty increased with free giveaways, but not so much with advertised discounts.

o Most business owners were dissatisfied with the follow up frequency of advertising sales reps, i.e. after an initial advertising campaign, contact is not made until after an unacceptable length of time.

To bring relevance to these results, one must take into account that this is a small city (about 122,000) and has a large rural support base in outlying areas. These trends show that a need to provide innovative and well maintained advertising service is apparent in this city. Perhaps this is the same elsewhere.

There were some other interesting facts, but these seven findings had the most valid results statistically. If in the future, some other trends become overwhelmingly evident, then I will revise this article.

Most Effective & Inexpensive Form of Advertising

Through the years, inflatable  advertising  has proven to be an extremely efficient and attractive way to draw attention and acquire brand recognition. No longer does your mascot or brand logo need to be restricted to the flat and boring 2D plain of everyday  advertising .

By translating your concept to the inflatable form, your idea immediately gets the 3D puff of life and presence right before your eyes. There are now various companies that help transform the  advertising  idea you have in mind into an inflatable  advertising  campaign, by using high quality materials to make your vision come alive.

Inflatable products are of various kinds, such as Giant Inflatables, Inflatable Golf Packages, Inflatable costumes, Inflatable Tents, Holiday Inflatables, and such like.

For all practical purposes, inflatables are a very efficient and cost effective way to get across your message to your target audience with a solid force that will grab the attention of your potential customer almost immediately. Inflatable  advertising  is used to increase business and obtain a lot more attention, as compared to almost all other kinds of  advertising  methods. What’s more it is quite inexpensive!

 Advertising  inflatable products have come to be an excellent marketing tool for various kinds of venues, whether for high transfer business or for outdoor events. Over the years, innumerable companies have unanimously selected these inflatables as a hugely successful marketing tool.

For example,  advertising  balloons have become a highly cost effective means to get across your ideas. Imagine an idea of yours, or a brand logo imprinted on a giant sized Inflatable Balloon floating slowly in the sky. They can attract attention from miles away! Giant inflatables and  advertising  balloons create an excitement hard to duplicate, and that helps in creating a receptive mind among your customers.

Inflatable balloons, helium blimps and  advertising  inflatables, they come in all kind of different shapes and sizes, in order to attract the attention of customers. Different kinds of  advertising  balloons have the capability of attracting different prospects. Of course, it does depend upon your product too.

All you need to figure out is how to place them at strategic points in order to make your brands stand apart, and have customers completely infatuated by them.

To put it simply, the effectiveness of  advertising  inflatables lies in the statement, ‘when the balloon soars high, the sales dance up higher.’

People keep changing their preferences, and now it seems they are looking for something new. Something special! Inflatable marketing is just the tool of  advertising  to grab onto their attention. Surely, you must have come across various popular sports and caught the glimpse of colorful  advertising  balloons soaring high in the sky above. It is eye catching, largely interesting and incredibly cost effective. Most importantly, it is very innovative.

Inflatable marketing strives at making your product successful and stand out. Be pioneering, be smart and use Inflatable marketing. It is the next best thing among  advertising  solutions.

Pixel Advertising: Fad or Trend?

Pixel  advertising  is an innovative marketing concept introduced by 22-year-old Alex Tew that allows advertisers to buy  advertising  space on a per-pixel cost basis. The more pixels an advertiser buys, the larger their ad and the greater the chance that it will be clicked on. Selling one million pixels at $1 each, Alex’s Million Dollar Homepage has created quite a buzz in the news media and has easily reached its $1 million target.

Thanks to the stunning success of Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage (MDHP), pixel ad sites have mushroomed all over the net. There are even commercial scripts that you can buy that will allow you to set up your own million-dollar homepage in less than 15 minutes. However, this does not mean you’ll make a million dollars…or even a thousand dollars…or even the cost of the script.

Alex Tew’s pixel  advertising  concept was simple, so simple that it eventually led many people to pound their heads on the wall repeating to themselves, “Why didn’t I think of this first?” But his idea was also novel and original. And because of its novelty it commanded a lot of attention (and free publicity) from the media.

Needless to say, no news organization will rush to report about a second million-dollar homepage, let alone one set up in 15 minutes with a purchased script. This is not to say, however, that there is no room in cyberspace for the second or third or even thousandth MDHP. In fact, there are presently at least a thousand MDHP clones hoping to capitalize on the pixel  advertising  craze. Many of them have managed to make a lot of money despite not being the original.

Some people view MDHP clones as little more than shameless imitations trying to leech off Tew’s original concept. This would be the case if his idea, while fun and original, has little use beyond his website.

On the contrary, the clones have proved quite the opposite. Their successes have demonstrated that Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage was worth much more than $1 million. Moreover, they have lend legitimacy to the concept of pixel .

While the original MDHP has made “internet history” (in Tew’s words) by achieving its $1 million goal, it is unlikely to become anything more than just a blip in internet history if the concept is not adopted and refined by others. In fact, most MDHP clones have achieved their riches not by ripping off Tew’s site verbatim, but by borrowing his pixel  advertising  concept and finding creative uses for it.

Far from being just a fad, pixel  advertising  holds an enormous promise as an alternative, cost-effective channel for online  advertising . But the concept is still in its infancy, and to avoid becoming internet history, it has to evolve. An important aspect of this evolution is how limitations inherent in the concept itself and in how pixel  advertising  is being used are addressed.

Perhaps the most obvious argument against pixel  advertising  is that its current use is largely limited to websites with seemingly useless clutters of ads with no content whatsoever. At best these sites offer advertisers little more than a source of non-targeted traffic.

An obvious solution to this is to incorporate pixel  advertising  into content-rich sites. Instead of selling pixel  advertising  exclusively through a site with nothing but a giant grid of picture ads, banner-sized pixel grids may be incorporated into a site with real content. A good example of this application is the relatively small and unobtrusive pixel panel placed on http://www.ezclassifieds.org/. Since most people go to ezClassifieds.org to post and look at ads, the site is an ideal place to offer pixel  advertising  to visitors. Obviously, incorporating pixel ads into content sites involves a lot more work than installing a ready-made script on a new domain. It involves developing a content-rich site and *then* offering pixel ads as an alternative to text links and traditional banner ads.

Used in this way, pixel ads are at the very least superior to traditional banner ads. Unlike traditional banners, a pixel banner may contain ads for several advertisers. Plus, pixel ads are not confined to predetermined shapes and sizes. Many pixel ad scripts will automatically resize images submitted by advertisers, eliminating the need to edit them to conform to the publisher’s requirements. Purchasing pixel ads is usually painless and often fully automated. Since most people have grown accustomed to ignore banner ads, pixel ads are likely to generate higher click-through rates.

Copyright 2006 Oudam Em

5 Important Advertising Tips

1)  Advertising  is Key! Truth is…you can’t afford not to advertise. Statistically speaking, research shows…companies that maintain their  advertising  throughout a recession are poised to reap benefits over their competitors, who do not advertise, especially once the market begins to recover. Therefore, slightly increasing your  advertising  in order to get the edge over your competition is a good idea. However, if you’re not in a position to do that, try to maintain your normal spending levels if at all possible. First and foremost…  advertising  is the promotion of a company’s products or services carried out essentially to drive sales of the products or services, but also, to build a brand identity and communicate any changes or new products or services to the customer base. If you want to grow your company’s profitability and improve your bottom line…you must ADVERTISE!

2) Choose your  advertising  method wisely. Here are some options.

a) Print  advertising : newspapers, magazines, brochures, fliers & direct mail

b) Outdoor  advertising : billboards, kiosks, trade shows and events

c) Broadcast  advertising : Television, Radio and Internet

d) Covert  advertising  or in layman’s terms “product placement”: now this is the  advertising  you see in motion pictures-or with sitcoms on TV…this is a unique form of  advertising  that companies do to showcase their product or service.

e) Public Service  advertising : is traditionally reserved for socially relevant messaging, political integrity, poverty, religious or civic events, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organizations.

f) Celebrity  advertising : of course this is when a famous person is asked to be a spokesperson for your product or service. Today there are growing companies that bank on the power and influence of celebrity  advertising . In most cases, the celebrity lends instant credibility and influences the target customer base positive manner thereby increasing the company’s profitability.

3) The difference between having an  advertising  plan and having an  advertising  strategy is critical. It’s like this…if you want to get from point A to point B that’s your plan. Your strategy is how you’re going to do it. For example if my plan is to drive to Savannah then I have to formulate a strategy on how I’m going to get there…either by car, plane or train etc. Once I determine the how, then I must map out my route…that’s my strategy. Your  advertising  plan consists of what your goal is. For instance, let’s say your plan is to increase sales by 30% and promote your special July 4th sale including half off of everything in stock. Well the  advertising  strategy must include the execution of the plan. If you want to inform your prospective customers about your sale…you’ve got to figure out “the how factor”…how are you going to get that message across? What vehicle will you use? Then you must strategize an effective campaign relaying the pertinent information to the target audience utilizing a creative advertisement to effectively communicate your message. You may decide to combine flyers, TV, radio & internet along with a celebrity endorsement. So the  advertising  plan and  advertising  strategy are very different but function in partnership…because one doesn’t work effectively without the other.

4) The one key word to use in  advertising  The best word in  advertising  is…”FREE” anything free is going to instantly grab attention and make your customer curious to find out what is being offered for free! However, if you’re limited on what you can offer for free…there are other  advertising  techniques you can use…i.e., special offers are nothing more than good old fashioned “bribery” because you hook the customer with the BUY ONE GET ONE OFFER or Buy TWO GET ONE HALF OFF! This technique is very effective because you have given the customer an incentive to spend more!

5) The most important element in effective  advertising  The industry terminology is called “THE CALL-TO-ACTION.” But I like to call it, the WOW Factor or the “Special Sauce.” In today’s society we are spoiled. Most of us want everything now, at our convenience and deeply discounted. Consumers today don’t want to spend too much time or energy looking for a great deal. Most importantly we look for a quality product or service at a great price. Thus, the key for any company or business…is to offer their target audience something unique that’s going to “knock their socks off!” However, you must offer something that will influence the target customer to take action right away! The WOW Factor equals activation! To make sure you get that activation; you must give it the KISS test; KEEP-IT-SWEET & SIMPLE!

2010 © All Rights Reserved Quality Media Consultant Group LLC

Online Advertising

 Advertising  has moved much beyond the levels of print and point of contact  advertising . Today one of the world’s most effective  advertising  techniques is online  advertising . With the unparalleled rise in the World Wide Web, not only has it become one of the most targeted sections of  advertising , but at the same time it is also the most cost effective  advertising  process in the world.

Categories of online  advertising  could include such systems as banner ads, email marketing,  advertising  networks, online classified  advertising  and many other techniques. The procedures are simple, they are quick and the results are easily visible.

The greatest benefit of online  advertising  is that it knows no time and space boundaries. It is visible to anyone at anytime and geographical boundaries are no longer applicable. Another great advantage is that they can be targeted to specific groups or a relevant audience. Certain keywords will bring up the advertisements on the requisite pages, thus ensuring that you catch the eyeballs of people who are looking for similar content.

Google, due to its commanding position in the search engine world, is used as the benchmark for all  advertising  techniques and marketing strategies. If a company manages to do well with its Google  advertising , then it is guaranteed that the same techniques will achieve good results on other search engines also.

Google’s AdWords is one of the most basic systems of  advertising  on their search network. The AdWords reach only interested customers, since the ads pop-up only on relevant search pages. You can also reduce  advertising  costs tremendously since these are not very high priced ads. You can also alter them as and when needed, and judging from the evaluation charts you can make informed marketing decisions.

Online  advertising , especially banner  advertising  or ads on various sites should not be judged on the basis of the number of click throughs. An advertisement’s efficacy cannot be calculated according to the instantaneous results it generates. There is a great deal of recall value attached to ads, and similar to print media or TV advertisements, the results normally become evident only later. However what is essential is the placing of the advertisement, since the significance of the page it appears on is what determines the focus of the ad.

Over 13.6 billion searches take place in one month in the US alone. Out of these 9 billion of those searches are on Google. Hence the importance of Google as the main  advertising  destination cannot be underplayed. Every SEM company worth its salt will target Google searches for optimization, and online  advertising  companies will target their ads towards the 9 billion searches every month. Thus Google promotion packages are an inherent segment of every  advertising  strategy. These include not only  advertising  on Google search engines, using the specialized techniques developed by Google, but also  advertising  on other classified advertisement networks and directory listing sites which are ranked high on the search engine lists.

Online  Advertising  includes search engine marketing with Google AdWords, Yahoo SM and Microsoft Adcenter; it also includes buying banners from CPM ad networks as well as social media marketing.

The Top Five Secrets To Advertising Strategies – Starting With Your First Ad

Today, most advertising strategies focus on achieving three general goals, as the Small Business Administration indicated in Advertising Your Business:

1) promote awareness of a business and its product or services;

2) stimulate sales directly and “attract competitors’ customers”; and

3) establish or modify a business’ image. In other words, advertising seeks to inform, persuade, and remind the consumer. With these aims in mind, most businesses follow a general process which ties advertising into the other promotional efforts and overall marketing objectives of the business.

An advertising strategy is a campaign developed to communicate ideas about products and services to potential consumers in the hopes of convincing them to buy those products and services. This strategy, when built in a rational and intelligent manner, will reflect other business considerations (overall budget, brand recognition efforts) and objectives (public image enhancement, market share growth) as well. Even though a small business has limited capital and is unable to devote as much money to advertising as a large corporation, it can still develop a highly effective advertising campaign. The key is creative and flexible planning, based on an in-depth knowledge of the target consumer and the avenues that can be utilized to reach that consumer.

STAGES OF ADVERTISING STRATEGY

As a business begins, one of the major goals of advertising must be to generate awareness of the business and its products. Once the business’ reputation is established and its products are positioned within the market, the amount of resources used for advertising will decrease as the consumer develops a kind of loyalty to the product. Ideally, this established and ever-growing consumer base will eventually aid the company in its efforts to carry their advertising message out into the market, both through its purchasing actions and its testimonials on behalf of the product or service.

Essential to this rather abstract process is the development of a “positioning statement, a positioning statement explains how a company’s product (or service) is differentiated from those of key competitors. With this statement, the business owner turns intellectual objectives into concrete plans. In addition, this statement acts as the foundation for the development of a selling proposal, which is composed of the elements that will make up the advertising message’s “copy platform.” This platform delineates the images, copy, and art work that the business owner believes will sell the product.

With these concrete objectives, the following elements of the advertising strategy need to be considered: target audience, product concept, communication media, and advertising message. These elements are at the core of an advertising strategy, and are often referred to as the “creative mix.” Again, what most advertisers stress from the beginning is clear planning and flexibility. And key to these aims is creativity, and the ability to adapt to new market trends. A rigid advertising strategy often leads to a loss of market share. Therefore, the core elements of the advertising strategy need to mix in a way that allows the message to envelope the target consumer, providing ample opportunity for this consumer to become acquainted with the advertising message.

1. TARGET CONSUMER The target consumer is a complex combination of persons. It includes the person who ultimately buys the product, as well as those who decide what product will be bought (but don’t physically buy it), and those who influence product purchases, such as children, spouse, and friends. In order to identify the target consumer, and the forces acting upon any purchasing decision, it is important to define three general criteria in relation to that consumer, as discussed by the Small Business Administration:

1. Demographics-Age, gender, job, income, ethnicity, and hobbies.

2. Behaviors-When considering the consumers’ behavior an advertiser needs to examine the consumers’ awareness of the business and its competition, the type of vendors and services the consumer currently uses, and the types of appeals that are likely to convince the consumer to give the advertiser’s product or service a chance.

3. Needs and Desires-here an advertiser must determine the consumer needs-both in practical terms and in terms of self-image, etc.-and the kind of pitch/message that will convince the consumer that the advertiser’s services or products can fulfill those needs.

2. PRODUCT CONCEPT The product concept grows out of the guidelines established in the “positioning statement.” How the product is positioned within the market will dictate the kind of values the product represents, and thus how the target consumer will receive that product. Therefore, it is important to remember that no product is just itself, but, a “bundle of values” that the consumer needs to be able to identify with. Whether couched in presentations that emphasize sex, humor, romance, science, masculinity, or femininity, the consumer must be able to believe in the product’s representation.

3. COMMUNICATION MEDIA The communication media is the means by which the advertising message is transmitted to the consumer. In addition to marketing objectives and budgetary restraints, the characteristics of the target consumer need to be considered as an advertiser decides what media to use. The types of media categories from which advertisers can choose include the following:

o Print-primarily newspapers (both weekly and daily) and magazines.

o Audio-FM and AM radio.

o Video-Promotional videos, infomercials.

o World Wide Web.

o Direct mail.

o Outdoor advertising-Billboards, advertisements on public transportation (cabs, buses).

After deciding on the medium that is 1) financially in reach, and 2) most likely to reach the target audience, an advertiser needs to schedule the broadcasting of that advertising. The media schedule, as defined by Hills, is “the combination of specific times (for example, by day, week, and month) when advertisements are inserted into media vehicles and delivered to target audiences.”

4. ADVERTISING MESSAGE An advertising message is guided by the “advertising or copy platform,” which is a combination of the marketing objectives, copy, art, and production values. This combination is best realized after the target consumer has been analyzed, the product concept has been established, and the media and vehicles have been chosen. At this point, the advertising message can be directed at a very concrete audience to achieve very specific goals. There are three major areas that an advertiser should consider when endeavoring to develop an effective “advertising platform”:

o What are the product’s unique features?

o How do consumers evaluate the product? What is likely to persuade them to purchase the product?

o How do competitors rank in the eyes of the consumer? Are there any weaknesses in their positions? What are their strengths?

Most business consultants recommend employing an advertising agency to create the art work and write the copy. However, many small businesses don’t have the up-front capital to hire such an agency, and therefore need to create their own advertising pieces. When doing this a business owner needs to follow a few important guidelines.

5. COPY When composing advertising copy it is crucial to remember that the primary aim is to communicate information about the business and its products and services. The “selling proposal” can act as a blueprint here, ensuring that the advertising fits the overall marketing objectives. Many companies utilize a theme or a slogan as the centerpiece of such efforts, emphasizing major attributes of the business’s products or services in the process. While something must be used to animate the theme …care must be taken not to lose the underlying message in the pursuit of memorable advertising.”

When writing the copy, direct language (saying exactly what you mean in a positive, rather than negative manner) has been shown to be the most effective. The theory here is that the less the audience has to interpret, or unravel the message, the easier the message will be to read, understand, and act upon. As Jerry Fisher observed in Entrepreneur, “Two-syllable phrases like ‘free book,’ ‘fast help,’ and ‘lose weight’ are the kind of advertising messages that don’t need to be read to be effective. By that I mean they are so easy for the brain to interpret as a whole thought that they’re ‘read’ in an eye blink rather than as linear verbiage. So for an advertiser trying to get attention in a world awash in advertising images, it makes sense to try this message-in-an-eye-blink route to the public consciousness-be it for a sales slogan or even a product name.”

The copy content needs to be clearly written, following conventional grammatical guidelines. Of course, effective headings allow the reader to get a sense of the advertisement’s central theme without having to read much of the copy. An advertisement that has “50% off” in bold black letters is not just easy to read, but it is also easy to understand.

Strategic Advertising for Real Estate Agents

“99% of  advertising  doesn’t sell a thing.”

Sounds like something a local real estate agent might say after paying for yet another ad that didn’t produce, right?

You might be surprised to learn that the quote actually belongs to David Ogilvy, legendary founder of one of the world’s largest and most successful  advertising  agencies.

Yikes – if a man regarded as a giant in the ad industry is so negative about  advertising’s  success rate, how should you feel?

The Bad News is the Good News…

There is an upside here. If so much of the  advertising  in your local market is ineffective, you can gain a significant edge on your competition by having a better local  advertising  strategy than other agents.

 Advertising  vs.  Advertising  Strategy

Notice that I said a better  advertising  STRATEGY, not simply better  advertising . There’s a big difference.

A better ad might get you a few more leads in the short term. A better  advertising  strategy can help you to have a consistent, meaningful message in your  advertising , and will position you to get more business from your local market on an ongoing basis.

With that in mind, here are three tips to help you define your  advertising  strategy, and put it into action:

1) Have a Strategic Objective In Mind BEFORE you Advertise

 Advertising  for the sake of “building awareness” is probably the fastest way to flush your  advertising  dollars away.

Before you even think about buying an ad, you must have a strategic objective in mind – after all, why should you pay for any type of ad unless it helps you to reach your objective.

Here are just a few questions that you might ask yourself before placing an ad to help define what you want your  advertising  strategy to do for you:

– If I could be known for just one thing in my local market, what would it be?

– Which part of the local real estate market is not currently well serviced by other agents? Is there potential in this neighborhood/age group/demographic profile?

– Which part of the local market is emerging and might be a driving force for sales in future years?

– What’s changing in my market right now – immigration, aging population, young families moving in, etc – and how do I capitalize on the change more effectively than my competitors?

If you can answer even some of these questions, you will probably be on your way to identifying the basis for an  advertising  strategy.

For example, you may determine that based on trends and current prices, your market will become increasingly popular with first time homebuyers. As a result, your strategic objective may be to use your  advertising  to become recognized as the local expert in serving first time homebuyers.

2) Have a Specific Objective for Each Ad you Place within your Strategy

With a clear objective as part of your  advertising  strategy, you can now think about investing in ads that support your objective.

Here’s a tip – you can create  advertising  that generates an immediate response while also serving to build your brand in a particular market.

Continuing with the above example, if you ran a series of ads in the local newspaper offering a free “First-Time Homebuyers Report” available from your website, you would actually be running a direct response ad (aimed at getting people to download the report) that also delivered a brand building message (the message being that you are the agent for first time homebuyers to call because you are the expert in that field).

You can measure the success of the ad by looking at the number of downloads from your site while the ad was running – since generating downloads was the specific objective of the ad. If the ads don’t generate enough downloads to justify the cost, pull them or change them. Ads are only valuable if they get you closer to achieving your strategic objective.

3) Be Consistent

All of your  advertising  (online, print, directory, flyers, etc) should be similar in both style and substance within your  advertising  strategy.

Yes, a consistent look and style for your ads is important to help you get recognized in a competitive market.

But even more important is being consistent when it comes to the messages in your ads. You can’t buy a Yellow Pages ad that promotes you as the leader in client service, and then advertise your “low low price” in the local newspaper, and then distribute flyers that try to promote you as the family real estate expert.

Your messages can’t conflict! Again, here’s where an  advertising  strategy comes in. With a strategic objective in mind for your  advertising , you will be able to focus your  advertising  dollars on communicating a single, clear message to potential clients about why they should call you.

An  Advertising  Strategy is Critical to your Success

If Mr. Ogilvy was right, then most of the advertisers out there in your real estate market are getting it wrong. This creates a huge opportunity for you to use an  advertising  strategy to drive business and outdo your competitors.

– Have a Strategic Objective for all of your  Advertising  – Know what you want to say about your business, and who you want to say it to within your local market.

– Have an Objective for Each Ad – Measure each ad’s results against the strategic objective you are trying to achieve – if you don’t, how will you know if the ads were successful or not?

– Be Consistent – Make sure all of your ads are focused on helping you reach your strategic objective by communicating a clear message to the market.

 Advertising  can be a tough game, but so can real estate. And in both cases, those with a well thought out strategy will almost always succeed over those that don’t have a plan.